Buying electronics in Hong Kong - our experiences and tips
Hong Kong is a well-known destination to buy cheap electronics. Because there’s no sales tax, electronics are usually cheaper and it’s okay to bargain. We were looking for a camera quite some time already and decided to finally buy one in Hong Kong. In this blog post, we share our experiences and tips buying electronics in Hong Kong.
The Mong Kok area is the place to be for electronics shopping. There are two different kinds of shops: the independent retailers and the retail chains such as Fortress and Broadway. Joop was looking for a phone that wasn’t officially sold in Hong Kong so we had to go to the independent retailers for that. There are a lot of independent phone retailers at the Sin Tat Plaza mall, but you can find them anywhere else in Mong Kok as well. We visited many shops and asked whether they had the phone and if we could see it. They always had the phone but we first had to buy it before we could see it. We didn’t want to take that kind of risk, so we moved on to the camera.
When we had finally decided which camera was going to be the one (Sony A6000), we went looking for prices. We visited a few independent retailers but were a bit reluctant after our experience with the phone. Some retailers only accepted cash payments, but we wanted to pay by credit card because of the credit card insurance. Others included a free camera bag, for example, and seemed to be a bit cheaper than the chain stores, but it turns out that the chain stores are also very willing to give you tons of free extras. Lots of independent camera retailers are in the Sim City mall, including Tin Cheung Camera and OnTheGo. The latter is a highly recommended store specializing in all things drone and drone supplies. The people are very nice and eager to help. They even sell aftermarket antennas for your remote in order to increase your drone’s range! We needed a specific cable to connect our phone to our DJI Spark remote, which isn’t officially supported for the Spark. They instantly knew (and had!) what we needed and so we finally got our cable. Another reputable independent camera store is Wing Shing Photo Supplies. Nevertheless, we decided to focus solely on the retail chains Fortress and Broadway for the purchase of our desired camera.
After visiting many different Fortress and Broadway shops, we decided to go for Broadway, because their sales reps had given us good and honest advice on cameras. You can’t really bargain for the price at Broadway but they do offer a lot of free goodies when you buy something. The price of the camera was quite a bit cheaper compared to Europe (we got it with a €50-100 discount) depending on where you would buy it and whether there is a discount. We got some very nice freebies: a lens protection shield, a cleaning kit, an extra battery + portable charger, small tripod, 32 GB SD card and a Hello Kitty bag (haha!). These come in very handy (except for the Hello Kitty bag, which is just a nice souvenir) and saved us at least another €50 if we would have had to buy them separately. You need at least a storage card, and an extra battery with a portable charger (which works with the power-bank, yay!) is quite useful too while traveling. We were (and still are) very happy with our purchase!
In case you want to buy electronics in Hong Kong, be well aware of scams. Fortress and Broadway are trusted chains and you’ll get the real product, but this isn’t necessarily the case at the independent retailers.
Know what you’re buying
Make sure you know what you buy. Always open the box and test the product before you buy it, even when you’re buying at Fortress or Broadway. You might buy a broken product. Don’t let the sales assistant leave with the box after you checked it, it happens that they switch the product you want to buy for a different, cheaper type (bait and switch). Make sure you never pay for a product unless you know exactly what you’re going to get.
At independent stores, you can (and are expected to) bargain the price down a bit. This can lead to some serious discount over chain stores. Chain stores, on the other hand, are usually a bit more generous in giving freebies with your purchase, and you might be successful to ‘bargain’ for one or more two extra freebies. Note that some independent stores might also be willing to give you a freebie or two.
If you’re buying a phone, check on beforehand whether your phone will be compatible with the mobile network at home. This isn’t necessarily the case.
Keep in mind that there’s a high chance you won’t have warranty at home, but only in Hong Kong. Our camera came with ‘international warranty’, but how well that works remains to be seen. Fortunately, we didn’t have any problems with our camera, yet.
UPDATE (18-12-2019): Almost two years later, we still haven’t had any problems with our camera!
Did you ever buy electronics abroad and what was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.
Be sure to check out more of our visual experiences on Instagram!
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